I am well into my golden years, I have been fortunate to be able to replace both my knees allowing me to walk again without pain. There is no replacement option for my brain so before it goes AWOL I spent cycles trying to figure out if there were ways to hold on to what I have. What I found was stunning.
- From 1950 to today the world population grew from 2.5B to 8B.
- During this timeframe the average lifespan increased from 46 years to 71 years.
- However during this same period, the mortality rates associated with dementia/Alzheimer's & Parkinson's jumped 20X; from 1 per thousand to 20 per thousand
As we are living longer I would expect some increase in brain related disease from wear and tear.
What causes "wear and tear" when we are talking about the brain?
It didn't take me long to find a suspect. Mitochondria dysfunction (and oxidative stress) is hypothesized to be the root cause of dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s (1) (2) (3). In fact to diagnose Alzheimer's we use Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to look for radioactive glucose. This glucose accumulates in areas where the mitochondria are not properly metabolising glucose to make energy.
What is mitochondria dysfunction?
In other blogs we have covered how mitochondria make energy plus reactive oxygen species (ROS) that if left alone cause chemical havoc. ROS oxidizes everything it touches, damaging cell RNA/DNA, depleting micronutrients and enzymes and degrading the mitochondria itself causing mitochondrial dysfunction.
Mitochondrial dysfunction simply means the mitochondria can no longer operate the energy production cycle efficiently in turn generating more ROS and/or that the RNA of the mitochondria is damaged enough that the mitochondria cannot replicate. Both causes start can start a downward spiral causing brain disease and ultimately death.
How can I keep my mitochondria healthy?
Animals at the bottom of the food chain (especially arthropods) developed a class of powerful antioxidants called carotenoids that protect the mitochondria, DNA/RNA and micronutrients from being damaged by ROS. The caratenoid astaxanthin is the gold medal winner and most powerful antioxidant produced by arthropods. All other animals higher up the food chain simply chowed down on astaxanthin producers to get their daily dose.
It didn't take me long to write this down
Humans, for example, ate eggs laid by bug-eating barnyard chickens that contained 5 mg of astaxanthin. Today's chickens are typically fed plant based diets using corn and soybean with 0 Mg of astaxanthin.
I started taking our best astaxanthin supplement over 10 years ago.
While I am struggling to maintain my college weight (or even close) everything else including my heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, oxygen levels and mental acuity are the same as back when.
Ask me and all the senior citizens that are taking our Adjuvia supplements in ten years if we kept our mitochondria healthy. If 999 out of 1000 say yes then we did something right.
(1) "Oxidative Stress Hypothesis in Alzheimer's Disease" W. Markesbery. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, Vol 23, Issue 1, pg 134-147
(2) " The Role of Oxidative Stress in Parkinson's Disease" Dias et. al.